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2023 Fallen Virunga Rangers


LCA pays tribute to the seven Rangers and one civilian employee that lost their lives in unprovoked attacks in Virunga National Park during 2023. They have made the ultimate sacrifice protecting the Park, for the animals and local communities. We owe them an everlasting debt of gratitude.


MAY 18 & 28, 2023:

Two violent attacks by armed members of a Mai Mai militias. A total of six Park Rangers killed and one civilian employee.

Names of fallen:

KAKULE NZONDA Djiku, 34 years old
NGERAGEZE KAMZUNGU Daniel, 30 years old
PALUKU MAHAMBA Ovide, 64 years old
MUSUBAO MUBULYA Justin, 49 years old
MUHINDO KASAY Nickson, 22 years old
KAMBALE MBAFUMOY Jonas, civilian employee


FEBRUARY 6, 2023:

A violent attack by suspected members of the Mai Mai militias killed one Park Ranger.

Name of fallen Ranger:

RULINABO FATAKANWE Pascal, 29 years old


January 10, 2021: 

Six Virunga Rangers were killed in an ambush while on foot patrol near Kabuendo, the central section near Virunga's border. The Park Rangers were taken by surprise and had no chance of defending themselves. Fortunately, a seventh Ranger who was injured was taken to hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. All the Rangers leave behind grieving family, friends, and colleagues.


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Names of the fallen Rangers:

BURHANI ABDOU Surumwe, 30 years old
KAMATE MUNDUNAENDA  Alexis, 25 years old
MANENO KATAGHALIRWA Reagan, 27 years old
KIBANJA BASHEKERE Eric, 28 years old
PALUKU BUDOYI Innocent, 28 years old


November 18, 2020: 

AirWing Pilot MUSAFIRI GASACYOCA Alphonse  was killed in a plane crash shortly after take-off from the Park's headquarters in Rumangabo. Alphonse had an extensive career in the aviation industry and was instrumental in training new pilots in the AirWing program. Alphonse leaves behind 2 children.


October 10, 2020:

Virunga Ranger BAGURUBUMWE CHUHOZE Deogene was killed during an attack on an ICCN patrol post near the village of Sarambwe. Deogene had worked at the park since 1996. He leaves behind a wife and 3 children.


April 24, 2020:

Twelve Virunga Rangers and one driver were killed in a violent ambush on their way back to their headquarters. All of those that lost their lives leave behind families, colleagues, parents, and grieving friends. Three other rangers are seriously injured, and one remains in critical condition.



virunga rangers all

Names of the fallen Rangers and driver:

ABEDI LYALU Kadhafi, 23 years old
ANUARI BIHIRA Lumumba, 27 years old
BADI MUKANDAMA Djamali, 27 years old
FAZILI JUSTIN Junior, 29 years old
KAMBALE MUTSOMANI Jean-Louis, 31 years old
KAMBALE TEREMUKA Jules, 28 years old
KASOLE JANVIER Joseph, 30 years old
MASUMBUKO MALEKANI Ruphin, Driver, 40 years old
MUGISHO KULONDWA Augustin, 27 years old
MUHINDO ISEVIHANGO Jeannot, 30 years old
MUHINDO KATEMBO Jacques, 29 years old
NDAGIJIMANA NDAHOBARI Héritier, 27 years old
PALUKU KALONDERO Moise, 30 years old

In addition to the Virunga National Park staff, four civilians also lost their lives.


April 2, 2019: 

Virunga Ranger SINAMENYE CHADRACK Hakizimana passed away following serious injuries he sustained during a wildlife-related accident in the Park's Central Sector. He was 38 years of age and is survived by his wife, Jemima, and their three children.


March 7, 2019:

Virunga Ranger MAHAMBA MULIRO Freddy was killed during an attack on his post in the Park's Central Sector. 


November 28, 2018:

Virunga Ranger MASUMBUKO EZECHIEL Kasereka was killed during an attack by armed militia at a Ranger Post on Lake Edward in the Park's Central Sector. He is survived by his wife, Justine, and their seven children.


April 1 - May 11, 2018:

25-year-old Virunga Park Ranger, MASIKA BARAKA Rachel was killed on May 11th, 2018. She became the eighth casualty that year in a war pitting brave rangers in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Virunga National Park against rebel militia groups.  Seven rangers and one staff driver, Ila Muranda, died in three separate attacks over the course of six weeks between April and May 2018.


Since the Civil Wars Began in 1996:

220 Rangers have tragically lost their lives while defending the park. The Rangers are the only force protecting the park, the wildlife, and one-fourth of the earth's endangered mountain gorillas.  Without the rangers and Virunga's AirWing program (supported by LCA), the park and the animals would surely become the victims of poaching and habitat destruction.

LCA has taken the lead in providing critical support and equipment to Virunga since 2016, with the donation of a Cessna 206 aircraft to the AirWing fleet.  The AirWing program provides the Rangers with an "eye in the sky" and is critical for emergency support and medical evacuation. In this important capacity, the aircraft and equipment donated by LCA to the AirWing program have saved countless lives.

Right now, with your help, LCA will continue to strengthen Virunga's AirWing. The Bat Hawk has increased visibility from the cockpit, has a low operating cost, is extremely stable and easy to fly and will allow night flying to combat rebel militia and poachers.  

The lives of Virunga's Rangers, and the wildlife and the mountain gorillas they protect, hang in the balance.








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